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California Governor (D) Gavin Newsom, has denied a bill to make condoms free for high school students. Newsom cites cost as the primary reason for the denial, arguing the free condoms will lead to a potential $30 billion budget deficit for the state.
The bill was passed by California’s Democratic-dominated state legislature, but disapproved by Newsom.
The legislative staff believed that the cost of condoms would accumulate to millions of dollars annually. According to the California Department of Education, in over 4,000 schools, there are an estimated 1.9 million high school students currently enrolled.
The bill would have provided all high school students with free condoms, which would be beneficial for students to be safe, educating them on the purpose of condoms and why they are important to use. In addition, the bill would make it unlawful for stores to refuse to sell condoms to the students.
Newsom says condoms are not in the budget
More health programs are significant to increase access to condoms, according to Newsom, as they are “important to supporting improving adolescent sexual health.”
Not everyone agreed with Newsom’s choice to veto, like state senator who wrote the bill, Caroline Menjivar, who argued, the purpose of the bill is to help the, “youth who decide to become sexually active to protect themselves and their partners from (sexually transmitted infections), while also removing barriers that potentially shame them and lead to unsafe sex.”
Newsom explained, “This bill would create an unfunded mandate to public schools that should be considered in the annual budget process.”
Asserting the bill’s approval would harm the state’s revenue, he argued, “with our state facing continuing economic risk and revenue uncertainty, it is important to remain disciplined when considering bills with significant fiscal implications, such as this measure.”
However, this is not the first bill vetoed by Newsom, as he denied bills to ban caste-based discrimination, limit the price of insulin, and regulate ownership and use of hallucinogens. With his continuous vetoes on important bills, many Californians question the democratically elected Governor’s willingness to carry out the will of the people.